current projects

Music for Empty Ears

Seán Mac Erlaine's third album Music for Empty Ears on the Ergodos label is a new trio with Norwegian trailblazers Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset. With launch concerts in Project Arts Centre, Dublin; Triskel Christchurch, Cork; Union Chapel, London.

“A set of lavish tonal pieces, honed to luxuriate in their ensemble sound rather than individual display. Through a hall of mirrors, a search is on for beauty… Music for Empty Ears is a seductive listen, with a distinctive voice all its own.” ~ The Wire, June 2018

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Terra Firmish

Terra Firmish is a new contemporary music and dance performance written by Seán Mac Erlaine in collaboration with visual artist Michelle Browne and choreographed by Emma O'Kane. Terra Firmish is a poetic interpretation of the true story of a sinking church on Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands. Seán performs woodwinds and electronics, Maeve Gilchrist plays the harp, Alex Petcu is on marimba and percussion, while dancer Emma O’Kane performs.

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This is How we Fly

contemporary folk

This is How we Fly is a contemporary folk band with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh - fiddle & hardanger fiddle, Seán Mac Erlaine - clarinets & live electronics, Nic Gareiss - percussive dance, and Petter Berndalen - drums and percussion. Their music sees Swedish folk music rhythms meet the texture of traditional Irish fiddle, percussive dance from America & improvised jazz and electronics.

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Boyne Song

HD Film, Duration: 20 mins, 2019

Seán Mac Erlaine · wurlitzer, metals, bass clarinet, xiao, field recordings
Moira Sweeney · film

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Seán has written two music dissertations the first on an approach to microtonality for the saxophone, the second on redesigning his performance practice to integrate live electronics. Both are downloadable here.

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woodwinds & live electronics

Although involved in a myriad of collaborative projects, solo performance remains at the core of Seán's practice. Seán started to play as a solo artist in 2006. His solo work since then has seen him take this research to PhD level combining custom designed software built in Max/MSP with woodwinds. He has released two solo albums: Long After The Music Is Gone (2012) and A Slender Song (2014).

New Solo Release

Film Work

Live soundtracks and film scores

Seán has performed a number of collaborative live soundtracks to silent films with shows at Irish Film Institute, Home Manchester, New York Film Festival at The Lincoln Center, etc. His music has featured in documentaries and films by Pat Collins, Moira Sweeney and others. Live soundtrack collaborators include musicians Matthew Nolan, Erik Friedlander, Eivind Aarset, Sharon Phelan, Adrian Crowley, Jan Bang, Shane Latimer, Clive Bell, Ernst Reijseger and Barry Adamson.

Duo Series

#1: Eivind Aarset
#2 Unni Løvlid
#3 Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh
#4 Valgeir Sigurðsson
#5 Jan Bang

“When Note Productions first approached and asked me to handpick some of my favourite musicians to play in duo with it didn’t take long to accept. It is the stuff of dreams to be in such a position. Duos are special: the balance between the two musicians, the clarity of hearing each performer, the nimbleness of response all excite me.”

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Alas Awake

Site-specific setting of Finnegans Wake for improvising choir, woodwinds, electronics and film

Drawing on contemporary choral work, collage, improvisation, live electronics and installation this ambitious project is an abstract homage to one of literature’s great works of abstraction.

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Pulse Music / Ceol Cuisle

Radio homage to poet Micheal Hartnett

A sonic journey into the thoughts and poetic imagination of the late West Limerick poet Michael Hartnett. Directed and Researched by Dylan Tighe. Original music and sound design by Seán Mac Erlaine. Featuring the all-munster cast of Andrew Bennett, Nell Ní Chróinín, Iarla Ó Lionáird, and the voice of Michael Hartnett/Micháel O hAirtnéide. Winner of Silver Medal for best editing at New York Festivals World's Best Radio Programs 2015. Nominated for Grand Prix Nova radio award, Bucharest 2015.

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Quiet Music Ensemble

new music specialists

The Quiet Music Ensemble is a Cork-based contemporary music group led by composer and performer John Godfrey. The QME is dedicated to music that invites deep attention and perceptive listening. They have premiered new music from leading composers such as Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Christopher Fox, David Toop and Mark Applebaum. Their debut album is released in 2015.

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Creative, improvised music in Dublin, Ireland and beyond

with: Alo Aliik (EST) ⦁ Tom Arthurs (UK) ⦁ Eric Biondo (US) ⦁ Sarah Buechi (SW) ⦁ Karl Burke (IRL) ⦁ Seán Carpio (IRL) ⦁ Roy Carroll (IRL) ⦁ Hayden Chisholm (NZ) ⦁ Sam Comerford (IRL) ⦁ ConTempo Quartet (RO/IRL) ⦁ Steve Davis (UK) ⦁ Toby Delius (NL) ⦁ DJackulate (IRL) ⦁ Robin Fincker (FR) ⦁ Julius Gabriel (DE) ⦁ Carolyn Goodwin (IRL) ⦁ Barry Guy (UK) ⦁ Laura Hyland (IRL) ⦁ Simon Jermyn (IRL) ⦁ Ian McDonnell (IRL) ⦁ Frank Möbus (DE) ⦁ Adrian Myhr (NO) ⦁ Eoghan Neff (IRL) ⦁ Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh (IRL) ⦁ Shane O'Donovan (IRL) ⦁ Darragh O'Kelly (IRL) ⦁ Gavin Prior (IRL) ⦁ Ernst Reijseger (NL) ⦁ Ed Rosenberg III (US) ⦁ Keith Rowe (UK) ⦁ Christian Skjødt (DK) ⦁ Dan Trueman (US) ⦁ Jennifer Walsh (IRL) ⦁ Florian Walter (DE) ⦁ Stian Westerhus (NO) ⦁ Achim Zepezauer (DE)

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No Worst There Is None

Promenade theatre / installation piece based on G.M. Hopkins

Presented for The Dublin Theatre Festival 2009. Directed by Dylan Tighe, Scenography by Phil Mac Mahon, Composition and Sound by Seán Mac Erlaine. Produced by Jen Coppinger with support from Arts Council and Poetry Ireland.

A site-specific promenade piece staged in the magnificent surrounds of Newman House conjures the nightmare world of the seminal Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, as he moves towards death.

The audience is invited to follow a live boys’ choir and performers around the building within a series of tableaux, installations and performance sequences. Featuring a new choral score, multiple installations and live electronics this is a radical contemporary reinvestigation of this lost historical episode, revealing the psyche of Hopkins in Dublin, as the country moves towards violent upheaval at the end of the 19th century.

Winner of Best Production Irish Times Theatre Awards 2010.

"Composer Seán Mac Erlaine pursues a stricter reading of Hopkins, excerpting his poetry into arrestingly stark hymns, leavened with the choristers of St Patrick’s Cathedral Boy’s Choir, who render the poetry both as prayer and as requiem." - Peter Crawley, The Irish Times.

"Composer Seán Mac Erlaine, with the help of members of the St Patrick's cathedral choir, elevates No Worst There Is None into an insistent, shattering crescendo...Later, in the university church, the poet's verse becomes his own requiem." - The Examiner.

"One of the strangest and most beautiful shows in the Dublin Theatre Festival." - Colm Tóibín, New York Review of Books Blog.